Teaching personal development plan
At Highbury Grove we’re in the process of engineering a culture shift away from inspectorial top-down accountability systems towards collegiate high-trust processes built on collective responsibility for student outcomes, professional development, mutual challenge and support. I’m convinced that this is the best way to secure improved outcomes for students as well as making teaching at the school more rewarding.
There are a number of interlocking elements to the approach, each driven by the same philosophy:
a) that teachers should be treated as professionals, with the default assumption that everyone is committed and hard-working with their students’ best interests at heart in all that they do;
b) that trust is a powerful force for good that needs to be deliberately and explicitly developed
c) that collective responsibility is greater than the sum of individual responsibility; we’re a team of teams
d) that each teacher, at every career stage should be nurtured, known, challenged, supported and developed in a continual process, not judged through snap-shots and one-off performances or datasets.
e) that evidence of learning is complex and needs to gathered and evaluated with a broad view of what constitutes success and a high bar for making assumptions about causal links between specific inputs and specific outcomes.
f) that there are bottom lines below which standards should not fall; that underperformance must be addressed in a robust manner.
g) that within a transparent pay structure, with opportunities for career progression, the intrinsic motivation of working in a supportive high-trust high-challenge culture outweighs any motivational effect from outcome targets and performance pay.
It would be wrong to suggest that we get this right all of the time; people need time to fully embrace this thinking – in fact it requires a conscious effort to avoid resorting to default-mode top-down enforcement when things don’t run smoothly. However, hopefully, we’re on the right road.
With this philosophy in mind, we’re in the process of developing a system with the following components
1. A Shared Vision for Teaching and Learning.
We’re using all of our CPD time for the rest of the year to run a process that will lead to a shared vision for learning at Highbury Grove. This includes working with Martin Robinson, author of Trivium 21st C as one source of influence alongside research-informed evidence about learning and our sense of the values we share as a school community. Most importantly, we are seeking input from every department and teacher; we want people to promote and share their own ideas about learning so that everyone feels they’ve contributed. Whatever consensus we reach will be captured in a whole-school document supported by subject-specific variants. We want our agenda for teaching and learning to belong to us; not feel like it is being dictated by an external body. The vision statement could then be used as a reference point for subsequent reviews.